Recipe: Fish in Tomato Sauce

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Serves 2-3 Make this African dish with your favorite white fish. In Burundi, they use whole Ndagala or mukéké. The tomatoes and onion make a fresh, brothy sauce, while a pinch of fresh parsley enhances the flavor. Sometimes the fish is fried separately, then added to the sauce. I prefer the health benefits of gently steaming the fish over the sauce. Ingredients: 1 Tbsp red palm oil 1 lb fish (we used cod) 1 onion, chopped 3 tomatoes, chopped 1 habenero (whole or … [Read more...]

Video Saturday: Burundi

Happy Saturday! In this first video, you'll see the longest lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika, as well as mukeke, one of the fish that comes from these beautiful waters. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdQNsuAwk3E&feature=related In this second video you'll view scenery from the small lakes region of Burundi, as well as spectacular fresh produce. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0t0B_eus6A Finally, watch drumming performances at the Avocado Oil Festival, followed by a display … [Read more...]

Technique Thursday: Recipe: Pili-Pili hot sauce

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Pili-Pili (also called Piripiri) is the kind of hot sauce that puts hair on a man's chest. And, possibly, even a woman's. This basic African condiment was introduced by the Portuguese in the 1500's. To give you an idea of how intense pili-pili is, imagine this true story: Positioned just outside the second room, where we would shake the president's hand, sat a vast array of spicy delicacies, accompanied by bowls of pili-pili sauce for dipping. For the uninitiated, Pili-pili (pronounced … [Read more...]

About the Food of Burundi

Fishermen on Lake Tanganyika. Photo courtesy of Francesca Ansaloni

Nestled up to the largest lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika, is the tiny country of Burundi. There, amidst the rolling hills and the lush tropics, live a people surviving on a simple bounty of beans, bananas, plantains, maize (corn), cassava, sweet potato, and peas. Peek under the lid of any Burundian pot, and you'll likely find red kidney beans. Cooked simply with a little red palm oil, onion, and spicy chili powder, the nutrient rich bean becomes a delight.  To avoid monotony, many … [Read more...]

About the Food of Burkina Faso

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Burkina Faso is a dizzying landscape of dusty red plains and grassy savannas, broken up by stunning rock formations that tower above the ground. The culinary landscape of Burkina Faso is similar - plain, sparse even - with the occasional burst of unexpected flavor. Let me explain. Most meals are centered around pieces of Tô, a firm ball of white starch made with millet, sorghum, or corn. These bland balls are wonderfully adaptive because they take on the flavor the broths, soups, and … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Bulgaria

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"Where's the beef?" said Keith's dad, wide eyed. In all his sixty-plus years on earth, this was probably his first vegetarian meal. Ever. What can I say. He's Oklahoma, through and through. Six months ago, I would have been nervous about putting this feast in front of him. I'd probably have served a platter beef on the side. Heck, I who am I kidding. The entire meal would have been a meat-lover's delight. I'm a people-pleaser, to the max. But eating food around the world has changed … [Read more...]

Fun Fact Friday: Bulgaria (with Poll)

Photo Courtesy of The Bulgarian National Museum of History

It's a beautiful morning here in Tulsa. The birds are chirping, the sky is blue, and Keith got up with the baby last night! Here's a few fun facts ... Bulgarian Rose oil Bulgaria is one of the world's largest producers of rose oil. This liquid gold is used to flavor chocolates, liqueurs, and jams. Oh, and rose scented perfume, but you shouldn't eat that. The primary producer is called the Valley of the Roses (located in central Bulgaria, in the town of  Kazanluk). Hidden … [Read more...]

Recipe: Savory Cheese Pastry (Banitsa)

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Serves 6 My husband is officially in love with Bulgaria. To be fair, he didn't stand a chance. Second only to pure sugar, Keith loves anything that includes butter, pastry, or cheese. This recipe boasts all three, and in eye-popping quantities. Not to say it was love at first sight. It wasn't. After all, my pastry skills are minimal. But, hey, we can all use a little forgiveness in the kitchen, from time to time. Especially when it comes to pastries. Thankfully, phyllo dough spreads, … [Read more...]